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The Cashless Society: NFC Giants Target Austin, Texas For Rollout

"We're really looking at Austin to help us to develop this technology," Isis CEO Michael Abbott said Tuesday. In fact, the technology behind mobile payments — known as near-field communication — is about a decade old, Abbott said. Businesses that currently accept "contactless payments" — meaning that customers can tap their credit card against a device, rather than swipe it — will be able to accept mobile payments, Isis officials said. Mobile payments are mainstream in other parts of the world but aren't yet common in the U.S. Isis officials expect that to change, citing research predicting that the mobile payment market, which was $5.2 billion in 2009, will jump to $56.7 billion in 2015. Other businesses are also making forays into the space. Austin company Tabbedout has designed an app that allows customers to close their restaurant or bar tabs using their smartphones. The company recently signed a deal that will bring its technology to thousands of venues across the country. Isis is in talks with major credit card companies about integrating their systems with its technology. Isis also plans to release apps on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms. Officials said the Isis system will allow consumers to store debit and credit card information on their phones, in addition to loyalty card information, gift cards and coupons. In deciding on test markets, Abbott said Isis examined 35 to 40 cities, looking for demographics such as youth and high education levels. "Basically early adopters," he said. "Somebody that was willing to change, willing to see the future, willing to take that chance to do it differently. Austin came right to the top of the list."

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Comment by Temper Bay
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 Fools rush in where wise men dare not tread.

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